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Will Bertha’s tunnel boring lead to ‘ratpocalypse’?

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Photo courtesy of photos.nondot.org

Photo courtesy of photos.nondot.org

SEATTLE — It seems that Bertha’s underground boring for the new Alaskan Way Viaduct is good for business — that is if you’re in the business of rat and roach control.

Mark Schmidt, district manager with Sprague Pest Solutions, said he has seen a substantial increase in business — as much as an 80 percent jump since Bertha started churning away underground. With underground tunneling projects such as this. rat and roach problems are common because as the ground is disturbed, the rodents and insects flee their homes and end up making their way into places where people don’t want to see them, such as high-rise office building or homes, he said.

KaDeena Yerkan with WSDOT said there has not been a report of an increase in rodents since the project started and that prior to Bertha’s boring, dozens of rodent traps along the perimeter of the tunnel launch pit were put in place in 2012. She said that since then they have not seen a significant displacement of rodents and roaches and added that most of the rodents and roaches don’t like living underwater, and Bertha is boring below the Elliott Bay water table.

Whether or not Bertha’s movement leads to a vermin invasion or a ratpocalypse remains to be seen, and as she makes her way north it’s likely area residents will certainly let us know will a collective “eek!”

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